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Top Account Executive Compensation Trends in Tech for 2024

The Betts Team
January 31, 2024

2024 could become a landmark year for Account Executives (AEs) in the tech sector, based on the Account Executive compensation trends we are seeing between the Betts network and the industry as a whole. Technology recruiting is in a bit of a paradox where companies in AI and other disruptor subsectors are vastly overtaking SaaS in hiring, yet most organizations are actively hunting for the same perfect fit candidate – the “unicorn seller.”

Betts has released the latest update to our annual Compensation Guide here, and in this blog we will dive into the biggest trends affecting earnings for Account Executives in the tech startup space for 2024:

Overview of Account Executive Compensation Trends in 2024

From 2020 to 2022, we saw salaries for many sales, marketing and other go-to-market (GTM) jobs in technology rise to their peaks. The conditions during the pandemic led to an explosion of digital transformation and many companies hired in droves to meet this demand. By 2023, however, most of these organizations scaled back on recruiting and it caused compensation averages to fall across multiple roles.

AEs were one of the top targets in the initial hiring sprees and consequently saw considerable salary increases that then dropped between 5% – 10% across the board as things slowed down again. Rates have mostly stabilized in 2024, yet there still remains some volatility tied to experience levels, market size, and whether the position is fully remote or in-office.

Account Executive Average Salaries in 2024

The average salary rate for Account Executives in tech remained mostly stable in 2023, although it tended to vary by experience level more than by time zone compared to previous years.

Base rate for an AE with less than 3 years’ experience averaged between $70,000 – $100,000, while those that were more experienced could typically earn somewhere around $85,000 – $120,000 on average, depending on whether they were positioned in a tech hub city or not. Those with midmarket experience could earn an even higher average of $100,000 – $145,000. Total potential on-target earnings (OTE) were usually up to 100% of base salary rate (ex: an Account Executive earning $75,000 base salary in NY could make up to $150,000 OTE on average).

NY / SFPacificMountainCentralEasternRemote
Base | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTE
Account Executive (0-3 years)75-100 | 150-20075-110 | 150-20060-90 | 120-18060-90 | 120-18075-110 | 150-22070-100 | 140-200
Account Executive (3-5 years)90-125 | 180-25090-125 | 180-25080-115 | 160-22080-115 | 160-22090-125 | 180-25080-110 | 160-220
Account Executive -Midmarket (3-5 years)115-150 | 230-300100-150 | 200-300100-135 | 200-270100-135 | 200-270100-150 | 200-300100-150 | 200-300
All compensation is listed in thousands of $USD.

Top Factors Influencing AE Compensation Trends

Compensation trends for Account Executives are being driven by many factors, including those outlined earlier in this blog as well as several other departments impacting the tech space. These influences can also still affect final rates during hiring negotiations, so we will go over some of the most major points to keep in mind for 2024:

The 2024 Hiring Landscape for Tech Companies

There are several key trends behind the current hiring landscape for the technology industry, but the biggest factor undoubtedly is the economy. Right now, many experts are still unsure whether the U.S has completely avoided another recession – let alone the world – reflects how much uncertainty still lingers in a post-pandemic new normal. Yet despite this trailing pessimism, people are still spending money, including in the B2B SaaS market.

Most tech companies have been trying to get ahead of this uncertain economic outlook and enable growth in the long-term. The midmarket is where we are seeing the most movement, and several organizations in this space have been pivoting increasingly to targeting enterprise-sized businesses. This has obviously jumped up demand for experienced Enterprise Account Executives (EAEs) that can position growing startups for success within this market, and that means that compensation rates for this role in particular are going to keep rising along with it.

The Quest for the Unicorn Seller

The key driving hiring factor for every tech company not in AI or another disruptor is the search for their unicorn seller. This candidate is the (your) perfect fit: 

  • Experience with your sales motion
  • Experience with your target industry & buyers
  • Has sales skills relevant to your motion & industry
  • Fits right in with your sales culture
  • Fits right in with your organizational culture

In other words, they come equipped with all of the knowledge and soft skills that would take a lot of time – and money – to train. Which means that this type of candidate should also expect a premium on their base salary as an incentive, up to 20% of the target rate outlined in the Betts Compensation Guide.

Technical AEs and Other Specializations

There has been a growing demand for go-to-market professionals that can bring specialized experience in SaaS, particularly technical knowledge that can be leveraged to communicate product details with prospects. Tech AEs are highly sought after for this reason, yet historically the candidate pool has only been a fraction of the jobs needed to be filled, driving up the going rate for this role.

Career Path for Tech Sales Roles

A trend that may have a long-term, unforeseen affect on Account Executive hiring and compensation is the scaling back of SDR programs among many tech companies. SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) are lead generation and qualification professionals that are often entry-level employees, and many AEs start their careers through these programs. The number of SDRs being recruited in 2024 is shrinking dramatically, making experienced AEs that much more valuable in the future.

Hire the Right Fit AEs with Betts Recruiting

Identifying and finding your unicorn seller Account Executive in the current market will take time and drive up your hiring investment, but Betts Recruiting is here to help you every step of the way. Our expert recruiters will help guide your search with data-driven insights, and our unique on-demand model will help you reduce your Cost-Per-Hire (CPH).
Contact Betts today and get started on your search for your unicorn AE, armed with the latest compensation data and more to help you secure your perfect fit sales candidate.